Lettuce? What Lettuce. Anorexics Even Eat Chocolate Too
Are you making the mistake of judging yourself, or someone else, because of your ‘pre-set’ thinking about what the daily plate of a sufferer ‘ought’ to look like?
Straw-poll the average Joe and Josephine, who’ve had very little knowledge of the illness, and you’ll probably find they’re of the belief that the ‘typical’ sufferer eats little more than air (that and a few leaves of lettuce or an occasional apple).
No wonder our recovery journey becomes all the more fraught, when a friend or acquaintance looks over at our nibbled-at biscuit and declares ‘well, you’re obviously not anorexic anymore then, because you’re eating a cookie’.
The naivety, and, let’s face it, ‘dangerous’ judgment, around food consumption of sufferers, is really troubling.
What the uneducated observer lacks understanding of, is that eating disorders manifest in all forms, in varying types of food behaviour, and can all too often be quite invisible in their severity.
There are those restrictive eating disorder sufferers who choose only to eat what they deem to be ‘safe’ foods, and actively refuse huge variations of food groups.
And yet, there are also the restrictive eating disorder sufferers who eat high sugar high calorie foods in very limited amounts, and perhaps at limited times of day.
So too, are there sufferers who consume what might by all accounts be considered normal choices, and normal amounts, but their compensatory activity (out of sight) ensures they are very much still on the eating disorder spectrum, and in just as much of a state of sickness.
What unites these sufferers however, is that their relationship with food is not comfortable, is grounded in negative emotions about oneself, and is completely void of the spontaneity and freedom which most of us seek to have around our daily eating and self-care regime.
Recovery requires us to hold no shame or stigma around our food choices. Instead, we must always remain conscious that our food is right for our body, and that it is of no concern to others, so long as we are actively doing what is right in order to make ourselves nourished and well.
Equally, recovery is aided by greater knowledge among observers.
Your judgment or commentary around food choices will only serve to hinder the good work that a sufferer may be doing in their effort to get well.
If we choose to get well by eating Sunday roast for breakfast, grandma’s apple pie for a mid morning snack and the combination of fish and chips with tomato soup for lunch….then so be it.
Recovery is the process through which we learn to listen to our hunger and respond to it. It is not about listening to the judgment or ill informed assumptions of others.
*Do share your experiences of having your food choices judged. We’d love to know what you went through. Email email@example.com
- Oct 2020